This fall, 10 new tenure-track faculty members and two Riley Scholars-in-Residence, including CC alumnus Juan Miguel Arias ’12, joined Colorado College. In welcoming them, Acting Provost and Dean of Faculty Claire Garcia noted that “their scholarly talents and commitment to teaching further enriches a strong and vibrant community of teacher-scholars and creative practitioners. The value of a liberal arts education has never been higher: we are preparing our students to ask tough questions of the world in which they live, and each of the new faculty members brings a unique perspective to the Colorado College community.”
Acknowledging the unprecedented circumstances under which they are joining the campus community, Garcia says, “They are starting their careers here at a time of two entwined and profound crises: a public health crisis and a crisis of our democracy as it confronts unprecedented and sometimes violent challenges to basic rights of citizenship. They are teaching students who are developing intellectually and socially in highly stressful times. But I am fully confident that each of our new colleagues — with their strong records of innovative pedagogies and relevant scholarship — are ready to thrive professionally and continue CC’s tradition of providing the best liberal arts education in the nation in an institution committed to antiracism in everything we do.”
The new faculty members and Riley Scholars are:
Aline Lo, English
Lo did most of her growing up along the Colorado Front Range and earned her M.A. and Ph. D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before going on to teach at Allegheny College for six years. Her work, broadly, is on immigration and contemporary North American literature and is driven by questions about citizenship, belonging, displacement, and colonialism. She teaches and has published on such authors as Edwidge Danticat, Louise Erdrich, Gwendolyn Brooks, Thi Bui, Mai Der Vang, and Luis Valdez. Lo is especially interested in Southeast Asian American literature and Critical Refugee Studies. She teaches courses on Asian American literature with an eye toward careful examinations of race, gender, class, and war and trauma. This Fall, she took part in the new First-Year Program, teaching a course called “Writing out of the Wild.” She currently is working on a book that finds beauty and strength in what has often been deemed as “problematic” about Southeast Asian Americans. Her next project is a study of Hmong American literature. She is excited to join the CC community and is looking forward to working with first-generation college students.
Arom Choi, Film and Media Studies
Choi graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 2018 with an MFA in film directing. She has extensive experience in writing, directing, and editing films. One of her works, “Knock Knock Knock,” was an official selection of the 2018 San Diego Asian Film Festival. Her work has been presented in venues in several countries, including the Gallery Luminaire in Seoul, Korea. Before arriving at Colorado College, she assisted directors Deborah LaVine and Josephine Decker who were teaching acting classes. Choi’s 2020-21 courses include Advanced Filmmaking, Storytelling Through Sound, and a senior thesis course.
Cayce Hughes, Sociology
Hughes joins CC after holding a post-doctoral appointment at Rice University. He defended his dissertation at the University of Chicago in 2017. His most recent article, “A House But Not a Home,” was published in the magazine Social Forces, and delves into how surveillance in subsidized housing exacerbates poverty and reinforces marginalization. Hughes also is a recipient of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, which supports his project that studies how low-income households work to maintain food security before and during the pandemic. He will be teaching courses in Urban Sociology, Deviance and Social Control, as well as Poverty and Social Welfare.
Chantal Figueroa, Sociology
Figueroa, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, holds a tenure-track appointment in the Sociology Department after teaching popular courses in public health and global health issues in many CC departments and programs as a visitor. Multilingual, she has been doing research on cross-cultural mental health issues. A strong proponent of student-faculty research, Figueroa has presented with her students at several public forums on mental and public health concerns. She will be teaching Gender Inequality, Global Health: Biosocial Perspectives, and Global Mental Health Policy.
Donald Clayton, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Clayton earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 2017 at the University of Oregon. He comes to CC from the University of Washington. Clayton’s research interests include a focus on the electrical and chemical properties of solid-state materials, which is interdisciplinary in approach and involves students in chemistry, physics, and environmental studies. He will be teaching General Chemistry, Chemistry Research, the Foundations of Inorganic Chemistry, and Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.
John Marquez, History
Marquez received his Ph.D. in Latin American History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2019. Before coming to CC, he was a Chancellor’s Advance Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Irvine (2019-20). His research focuses on the history of slavery, race, law, and empire, with a particular focus on Brazil in the 18th century. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript that explores the entangled histories of freedom, law, and the colonial archive in the South Atlantic world. He recently was awarded an Omohundro Institute-National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship to support the completion and publication of this book. His article, “Witnesses to Freedom: Paula’s Enslavement, Her Family’s Freedom Suit, and the Making of a Counterarchive in the South Atlantic World,” will be published in 2021 in the Hispanic American Historical Review. At Colorado College, he teaches on various aspects of Latin American and Caribbean history, emphasizing their transnational and global dimensions. This year, he will co-teach the History Department’s junior seminar, and offer courses on revolts and uprisings, Brazil, and global Latin America.
Liliana Carrizo, Music
Carrizo is an ethnomusicologist whose work focuses broadly on music and migration across numerous transregional contexts. She received her Ph. D. and MM in ethnomusicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and holds a BA in music from Williams College. She joins Colorado College after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the humanities at Harvard University, while also serving as a faculty affiliate at the Immigration Initiative at Harvard (IIH). Her current book project examines biographical songs of migration and cultural exile among Iraqi Jews. Based on two and half years of ethnographic and archival research, her work considers how interreligious soundscapes associated with Arab, Jewish, and Muslim modal practices converge with biographical, edible, and sonic memories among Iraqi immigrants, wherein singers access powerful, multi-sensorial memories that are crucial to their self-conceptions in the present day. Inspired by her background as a child of Iraqi immigrants raised in northern New Mexico, Carrizo’s next research project will focus on the music of Arab and Jewish immigrants within the wider regional fabric of the American Southwest. This year Carrizo will teach a range of courses in ethnomusicology, including Music, the Supernatural, and Otherworldly Realms, Musical Lives of Song and Migration, Musical Tapestries of the American Southwest, and Worlds of Musical Meaning. Her courses incorporate performative and experiential learning modules with ethnographic methodology, where students learn to reflect on the nature of power, social hierarchy, and sociocultural meaning as embodied and transformed through music and sound.
Lisa Marie Rollins, Theatre and Dance
Rollins comes to CC after many years as an accomplished theater professional. She is a freelance director, writer, and new play developer, and a Sundance Institute Theatre Lab Fellow (directing) and a Directors Lab West and Stage Directors and Choreographers member. Directing and dramaturg work include New York Stage and Film, Hedgebrook Women’s Play Festival, Crowded Fire Theater, American Conservatory Theatre MFA program (ACT), TheatreWorks (CO), Playwright Foundation, TheatreFirst, Berkeley Repertory Theater (Ground Floor), Shotgun Players, Custom Made Theatre, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Arizona Repertory Theatre, and new plays by Lauren Gunderson, Geetha Reddy, Idris Goodwin, Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, and creative collaborations with comedic artists W. Kamau Bell and Zahra Noorbakash. She has been a writing fellow with Hedgebrook, Djerassi, SF Writers Grotto, CALLALOO London, VONA, Just Theater Play Lab and Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency. Rollins currently is developing her new play “Love is Another Country.” She holds graduate degrees from Claremont Graduate University and University of California, Berkeley. Her chapbook of poems, “Other Words for Grief” (2018, winner, Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award) is available from Finishing Line Press and she is beginning the book proposal for her memoir project. She was honored with a “Bay Brilliant” artist award from San Francisco’s KQED and recently received a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Special Award in the Arts in which she will be working with Crowded Fire Theater to write and develop a new commission. She currently is the artistic associate/literary manager with Intiman Theater in Seattle, a Community Arts Fund juror for Zellerbach Family Foundation, and a resident artist with Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco. She taught Black Women in the United States and Diasporic Theatrical Performance in Block 2, directing a live, streaming digital experiment with Susan Lori-Parks 365 Plays/365 Days in Blocks 3 and 4, and hopes to teach Acting and Directing in person in Blocks 5 and 7.
Nene Diop, French
Diop graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder with a Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in French and Francophone Studies. She holds a License es Lettres and a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the Université Gaston Berger in St. Louis (Sénégal). Diop came to Colorado College as a block visitor in 2012 and became a lecturer in 2018. Her research interests include 20th-century French/Francophone literature and cultures, women’s writings in Francophone West African literature, and Senegalese literary works. She published her first book, “Combat Socio-Politique et Représentation: Le droit de la Femme en Question dans le Roman Sénégalais” in 2020 and her article “L'humour dans Les nouveaux contes d'Amadou Koumba de Birago Diop et La belle histoire de Leuk-le-lièvre de Léopold S. Senghor et Abdoulaye Sadji” is under review by the journal Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures. She teaches French/Francophone Literature, Language and Cultures. She also teaches in the CC Summer Culture and Language Study program in Sénégal.
Sofia Fenner, Political Science
Fenner is a scholar of regimes and opposition in Southwest Asia and North Africa. She holds a Ph. D. in political science from the University of Chicago (2016), where she focused on both comparative politics and political theory. Her current book project, “Life after Co-optation,” explores how two North African political parties (the Wafd in Egypt and the Istiqlal in Morocco) were damaged by authoritarian co-optation but nevertheless managed to survive. Drawing on the histories of these two parties, she finds that co-optation has much more to do with discourse and much less to do with material transactions than dominant theories claim. This year, Fenner is teaching courses on Syria, Middle East Politics, and authoritarianism that emphasize local voices, the politics of storytelling, and the importance of context and history.
CC also welcomes two new Riley Scholars this year. They join returning Riley Scholars Solomon Seyum in the Geology Department and Ryan Buyco in Asian Studies. The new Riley Scholars are:
Ahmad Alswaid, Arabic, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies
Alswaid graduated from Cornell University in 2020 with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. Prior to obtaining his doctorate, Alswaid taught at Marshall College in Pennsylvania, Portland State University in Oregon, and Tishreen University in Syria. He currently is finishing an Arabic language textbook co-authored with Dr. Munther Younes of Cornell University based on Tayeb Salih’s novel “Season of Migration to the North.” Alswaid will be teaching Elementary Arabic, Intermediate Arabic, and a review of these courses for students who have already taken them.
Juan Miguel Arias ’12, Education
Arias (he/él) teaches in and co-facilitates Colorado College’s Teaching and Research in Environmental Education (TREE) program; this year he is teaching Foundations of Environmental Education and Educational Psychology for the Education Department's undergraduate program, as well as Teacher and Teaching Identities for CC's Master of Arts in Teaching program. As a critically-minded and interdisciplinary education scholar, who graduated from CC with a degree in neuroscience, Arias uses insights from developmental and educational psychology to explore questions of environmental and social justice. Specifically, his research examines what culturally-responsive teaching practices look like when enacted in environmental/outdoor education settings, and how such practices in turn influence those environmental spaces. He received his Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University and his master’s degree in developmental psychology from the University of St Andrews.